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Comment There's only one problem... (Score 2) 27

because the ink layer is so thin, these circuits have an incredible amount of resistance, even with really fat lines.

I have one of these pens and it is a fun novelty, but not useful for practical circuits. The metal content isn't high enough. It's better applied to art projects and for kids teaching where you can show them a lot of circuit concepts in a very visual manner. That's where I felt this product would excel. If you drag a lead to a lightbulb over a 10" line, depending on how thick it is the bulb will be completely out either in a few inches or with a fat line over the whole length.

A version where you squired a lot more of the material with a thickener out of a mustard type squeeze bottle would get you some more functionality. But it's fun for the kids.

Comment It's still a hobby (Score 2) 47

Like another earlier poster, I still consider home automation to be a hobby, especially after trying it enthusiastically for a while. Reason being: It's expensive, it takes a lot of time, it's buggy and it's not necessary. But it can be fun if you're willing to deal with the downsides.

The big power-user product for home automation control is a very powerful piece of software called homeseer. If you're really serious about it and you want to do a lot with scripted events, that's a good bet, although it's not consumer friendly. It does run locally, you're not surrendering data to a company or the cloud and everything is yours and everything is configurable. I'm curious about the new localized box in the link as an alternative.

For a while I installed insteon switches and controllers all over the house. One by one they died, I don't think they liked the unreliable power where I lived at the time. Frustrated, I tore it all out and went back to plain old switches; I knew they would just work when I needed them to. I'm open to trying again, especially now that I am in a much larger house and I want to do things like gang-control upstairs and downstairs thermostats in unison to optimize efficiency for the temperature gradient, and control far flung light switches with a master switch or smartphone app. But it's quite an investment to replace all those switches and outlets. Fortunately you don't have to go all in at once, you can just do the things you need the most to start with.

Comment compliance cars (Score 1) 229

It seems like most pure EV's from the major manufacturers are so called 'compliance cars' built to meet (largely nonsensical) regulatory requirements. They are not widely advertised and no one buys them because they are so expensive compared to their IC counterparts and have significantly less range. The Tesla model S, an EV designed for its own sake, is a wonderful exception, but the price point puts it out of range for 95% of consumers.

Given the slow incremental improvement in battery technology, do you envision a cost effective, honestly mass market-palletable EV being possible in the next 10 years? Is GM working towards that goal?

Comment The target market... (Score 1) 300

...will basically be executives who's time is worth the price to get them to Tokyo and back for a deal. The very nature of the beast entails a small number of seats and thus a high price per seat. The cost and logistics go up by a very large amount when you increase the size of the vehicle. There are also issues with generating supersonic booms in places that are not used to it, limiting it to mostly ocean overflights or re-entering over sparsely populated areas. It won't be a mass market item, but there may be a market for it. In the mean time, up-and-down suborbital will have a larger market than point to point.

Comment rewind to the real problem (Score 1) 342

Burning Man has created an artificial monopoly for ice. By the description it sounds much like bread lines in Russia. If you try to bottleneck and manage essential goods at a single source, it invariably gets unmanageable as it scales up. They're dealing with a pretty large population these days for a bunch of festival organizers.

Based on the commenter who described the actual process via way of being a volunteer, a short term solution without getting into the political questions is to massively increase parallelism during peak times. Despite the pretty simple process, the peak demand is straining the system.

If they kept statistics about load vs. time they could figure out easily when to have a whole bunch more labor present to get the job done more quickly for the throngs of thousands.

Comment It's been tried... (Score 1) 48

Funny enough it's been tried as a business concept, though under different circumstances. In the mid-90s a company called AngelCorp wanted to build a series of manned aircraft that could loiter at high altitudes for long periods of time to provide high speed internet access. This was shortly before DSL, CableModems, WIfi and T1/T3 connectivity at the workplace would pretty much saturate that market. Bad timing.

Scaled Composites built one ship, the Proteus, a beautiful, revolutionary aircraft that is still in use today for many other payload missions such as airborne laser testing. The Proteus was also the uncle of White Knight I, the mothership for SpaceShipOne.

  The odd thing is, the AngelCorp website still exists, frozen in time.

With advances in battery propulsion and cheap UAV / drone guidance systems, it could be a workable thing for providing temporary access to remote regions.

Comment Vegas Movie Studio (cheap not free) (Score 1) 163

If you are open to using Windows, buy a copy of Sony Vegas Movie studio for fifty bucks. It's a stripped down version of Sony Vegas, which is a very powerful professional editing package, I prefer Vegas to Premiere and Final Cut.

Basically I did not see any limitations with the movie studio edition that would prevent you from making nice, clean HD videos. The editing interface is far better than Premiere's as far as I'm concerned.

Comment I have an unlimited data plan... (Score 1) 316

...but I actually don't use more than about 600MB per month on average. I could have a newer plan and it wouldn't matter, but they charge exactly the same for their lowest current data tier ($30/mo) as I am paying for unlimited. I'm keeping it on principle.

Comment Re:As an ex. Commodore Service tech (Score 1) 192

I saw her still doing stuff for Newtek at NAB shows until more recently, she still looked good. Yup we all loved her back in the day. :)

Also, by the time Voyager came around LW was being used on windows machines. I turned down a job doing the 'anomaly of the week' for Voyager at Foundation to go work at Digital Domain instead. Large unix-driven renderfarms for LW and their other tools. Pretty spoiled for gettin your frames done...also never worked with more talented people in my life. They had just come off doing Titanic and The 5th Element. Lots of Lightwave digital ship shots in Titanic by Frank Alber, he went on to become a big guy at Pixar. The stuff still holds up today.

Comment Re:Not Forgotten (Score 1) 192

Here here....a lot of show title sequences rendered on the one we had at the station. That eventually led to my vfx career. Got in when lightwave was the hot thing and rode it all the way to its peak down in LA. Good times. Eventually got tired of staring at a monitor for 10 hours a day though and switched careers. Still do a little photoreal FX rendering as part of my job, but only about 10% of it now.

In space, no one can hear you fart.